When are you using study techniques the most? While you’re in school, right? But you don’t learn about any of those things when you’re actually in school. In fact, you’re lucky if your teachers even help you create a study guide while you’re in school.
The truth of the matter, however, is that study methods for students are proven to work. And they’re absolutely going to make a difference in the way you succeed in school. But far too many students don’t know the scientifically proven study methods that are out there, which means you’re falling behind when you don’t need to be.
Why are Study Skills Important?
Why are study skills essential? Because they’re going to teach you how to achieve more with less effort. They’re going to help you become more successful in school and even in work and other areas of your life. They’re even going to help you feel more confident in yourself.
But of course, you need to know effective learning methods in order to get these benefits. And that’s going to take a little more help. So, we’re going to take a look at not just why these skills are essential, but what type of skills you should have been taught in the first place.
What Study Skills Should be Taught to Students?
If you’re convinced that study tips for students are essential, then you need to start looking at just what study skills should be taught and maybe even how those skills should be taught. The truth is, there are plenty of things that your student probably needs to know, and they’re not getting it at school.
- Get Organized – This is an incredibly overlooked step, but it’s an important one. All too often, we tend to tell students that they need to ‘get organized’ without actually telling them what that means. So, teaching them organization is an excellent start to any other study tips.
- Use Your Class Time – When you have time in class at the end of the period where you’re not doing anything, that’s a good time to write down assignments, skim over the material again, make some notes, or even get a head start on homework. It’s also an excellent time to talk to the teacher about any questions you might have so you’re ready to go later.
- Take Effective Notes – Notes are only going to be good if you take them in a way that you can actually use them. Some people do well with notes that are organized in a hierarchy. Some people prefer mapping out their notes or using highlighters in different colors. The most important thing is to come up with a system that works for you and stick with it.
- Retaining Information – Retaining the information that you’re studying is essential to actually achieving any form of benefits, but you need to come up with a method that works for you on this as well. It might be flashcards or simply repeating the information, but whatever it is, you need to have a plan in place.
- Goal Setting – While this might not seem like a study skill, it actually is. You need to know how to do goal setting so you can make a plan for what you want to achieve during your study sessions. This can also help you figure out what you want the ultimate goal of studying to be, such as the outcome you want in a specific class or on a test.
How to Teach Study Skills to High School Students?
The process of actually teaching study skills to high school students is an entirely different step. After all, high schoolers are going to learn in different ways, but giving a comprehensive crash course in a general format could make a big difference.
- Set aside time in class – Don’t just tell your students that they need to study and leave it at that. Instead, you want to make sure that you’re actually setting aside time during the class to go over those study tips.
- Reinforce the steps – Once you’ve taught those skills the first time, you’ll need to go back and do it again and again. You’ll need to reinforce what you’re teaching so they can actually retain the information.
- Focus on one at a time – If you’re going to teach how to take notes and how to memorize those notes, you’ll want to do this on different days. In fact, you’ll want to focus on a single thing for a few different sessions before moving on to something else.
How to Teach Study Skills to Middle Schoolers?
Middle school students are going to learn differently from high school students in general (remembering, of course, that each child is different). So, setting up a plan teaching them study skills will be a little bit different, but still a generalized crash course.
- Start Early – The earlier you start teaching study skills, the better off the students will be. That’s because they’ll actually use those study skills for a whole lot longer, and they’ll be able to reap more of the benefits from them.
- Get Individualized – Set aside a little time to work with each student on tailoring the tips you go over to match their personal learning style. This could mean five to ten minutes each class period goes to helping a few different students with their study plans, and then the next day, you can work with a few more.
- Practice, Practice, Practice – Getting in plenty of practice studying and using the tips that you’re going over is going to be necessary. So give them time in class and maybe even use study guides or note-taking as part of a homework assignment to reinforce it.
13 Effective Study Methods that Work
When it comes down to actually studying, there are some methods that seem to work better than others, so we’re going to take a look at just what some of those are and how you can make sure that you’re making the most of them.
- Take regular breaks – It might seem strange that the most crucial step when you’re studying or learning how to study is to make sure to take breaks, but it’s actually vital. You need to make sure you give yourself time to relax and to retain the information.
- Space it out – You shouldn’t try to cram all of your studying into a single night or even a single weekend. It’s not going to go well, and you’ll end up wearing yourself out as well as having a pretty lousy weekend at the same time. Instead, give yourself at least a few days to do your studying.
- Start with the hard part – If you have to study more than one subject, the best thing to do is to start with the most complicated thing first. This gets it out of the way and allows you to feel a little more accomplished when you work your way through.
- Have a study buddy – Studying with someone else, even if you’re not actually studying the same thing, can make you feel a whole lot better and keep you interested. You and your partner could be studying next to each other, or you could actually help each other with your studying.
- Keep your space free of distraction – It’s easy to get distracted by your phone, the internet, even other people, and noises around you. So come up with ways that you can keep your space free of those distractions. Turn off your phone or at least the notifications. Keep off social media, and let others know that you’re going to be studying, so they don’t stop by and interrupt you.
- Set small goals – Set small milestones and goals that will help you get where you want to by the end of your study session. Also, make sure that you set yourself small rewards to reach for while you’re doing your studying as well. This will help keep you motivated.
- Start with good notes – The best thing you can do is start with quality notes. This is going to require you to start early with your plans. It means you’ll need to be prepared for studying when you’re actually in class rather than right before your test.
- Start early – The earlier you start studying, the better off you’re going to be. Instead of just study methods for exams, these should be your study methods all the time, which will help you do better in all of your classes in general.
- Study daily – If you take even a few minutes each day to go over what you did in each of your classes, make a few more notes, skim through the chapter, or other minor tasks, you’re actually going to set yourself up a whole lot better in the long run. You’ll be able to spend less time studying later because you’re making the most of what you already remember.
- Get enough sleep – You need to have enough sleep to make sure that you can actually retain the information that you’re trying to study. Sleep is essential for everything you do, and that includes keeping your brain functioning at optimum levels. So get enough sleep before you try to study.
- Walk away from your desk – When you are ready to take a break, it’s essential to step away from your desk or wherever you’re studying. The best thing to do is get outside and get some fresh air and some sunlight while you’re at it. This can help refresh you and make you feel ready for that next session.
- Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help if you don’t understand something or if you’re struggling in any way. It could be a friend, another student, or the teacher. Getting help early will make sure you don’t end up on the wrong path and struggling even more later.
- Keep track of everything – Keeping track of your homework (and doing all of your homework) as well as when projects are due and when you have tests is going to be essential to keeping your studying going well. If you do all of these things, you’ll find studying much more manageable.
Wrapping Things Up: Why Aren’t Study Methods Taught in Schools?
There are plenty of things that you should know about studying that just aren’t being taught in school. But it’s not just about study skills for college students. It’s about setting up the skills that you need much earlier than that, so you can make sure that you’re on the right path.
You can do well in school, but you’ll need to know how to study, and that starts as early as possible. So, start early, keep out distractions, and make sure that you’re asking for help if you need it.